Monday, February 17, 2014

90 years from now

Oh Family! Hello! Sawadii!

So Valentine's Day was eventful. And by that, I mean it reminded me how single I really am, because me and my companion couldn't even comfort one another seeing as we were sick as dogs!! All day! From 6:30am I woke up thinking, "Uh oh. I ate some baddddd fish." And then shortly after, poor Embley hits her pillow again with similar groans and we were so drained of energy from being sick all day super bad, that by the time people brought food to us by 1:00pm, we shrumpled (not a word but a good description) to the front door, the member says: "Oh, man, that's too bad." upon seeing me, I take the parcel and slip back into outer darkness. We put the bag on the table. I take one whiff. I make a face only described by "It's not happening." and then Embley starts crying on the spot. It was so funny. Then, as a slip of the tongue, Brother Tongmuan accidentally thanked me from the pulpit for missing the Valentine's Activity. It became the joke of the entire day, "Thank you to Sister Painter, who didn't come to the Valentine's Activity.... and uhhh... well."

Two RCs are speaking at another one's baptism this week. That's way cool. So lots to smile about.

But also some things to be totally disappointed by. Not in terms of work, but it terms of truly heartbreaking circumstances. Sister Embley and I had an appointment to visit Nang's home and be with her family for dinner and finally get to teach her husband as she's wanted for so long here. He is the key to her being able to be baptized. So the food is being prepared (somehow) and we're all sitting and somewhere in the mix, the husband disappears looking really frustrated (they live in their shop, and the work there is tiring and stressful). Anyway, he disappears and Nang really wants him to be there. She realizes where he must have gone, and it's away to go drink. When he's frustrated and angry, he drinks.

So we have dinner. It's okay. That is, until her small 10yr old son Got realizes what has happened and his dad is not there and nowhere around. We eat somewhat solemnly as his mom teaches him that he has to use wisdom in all he does. He can't do what his dad is doing, doing without thinking of the consequences. I was literally sitting there hearing a mother teach her son doctrine, in a real life situation that is hard.

He didn't eat much. Then he slumped on the bench. A family came to buy some things and Got's mom was selling a few feet away, so he slumped all the way down on the bench. A little 5 year old boy came into the store and patted him in dismay, "What's wrong with Got?" The little thai boy frowned, terribly troubled over his friend, and the family left.

Got got up and perched himself where he could see the road better, as if he'd be the first to see his dad coming back home. He was heartbroken. I watched tears fall down. It tore me up. I called him over to my bench at the table, and eventually he came reluctantly. He sat down by me, and still looked far off. I told him,

"When I feel down, I sing. Do you remember the songs from church?" to which he nodded quietly. I said, "Are you a good singer?" he shook his head. "Do you like to listen?" he nodded.

I smiled and said, "I really like this one, it always makes me feel better." and I sang him 'I'm a Child of God'.

It made me really think. Do we know what our actions have on everyone else? Especially to all parents. That influence goes for both good and bad. I saw the righteous teachings of a parent vs. the actions of an irresponsible parent.

There is power in the prayers of a righteous mother. And there is consequence in poor examples. I see such light in that little boy Got that I am thankful every day for his mother.

“The Echo” by C. C. Miller

’Twas a sheep not a lamb
That strayed away in the parable Jesus told,
A grown-up sheep that strayed away
From the ninety and nine in the fold.
And why for the sheep should we seek
And earnestly hope and pray?
Because there is danger when sheep go wrong:
They lead the lambs astray.
Lambs will follow the sheep, you know,
Wherever the sheep may stray.
When sheep go wrong,
It won’t take long till the lambs are as wrong as they.
And so with the sheep we earnestly plead
For the sake of the lambs today,
For when the sheep are lost
What a terrible cost
The lambs will have to pay

In regards to everything else in my life, I feel spiritually happy. I feel at peace and want to work even harder than I have. I'm also pretty antsy! I've been here for 6 months so it's pretty for sure that I'm moving. I've been here for so long it's such a foreign thought to me that I'll actually ever leave RoiEt. And as my last full week here came to a close, I got to bear my testimony in the branch. When I sat back down, Sister Party was in tears. That's when I knew my time was used for good.

It will be so hard for me to leave this place. It has been my home. These are my closest friends. It is where everything about me changed.

90 years from now, I will be able track my testimony of tender, pure doctrines back to these moments of my mission. It will be tracked back to Plungjit road in RoiEt, Thailand. I will sit down with my picture books, journals, and scriptures and tell in a scruffy old woman's voice: "This little town changed my whole life."

And I'll know it just as well when I'm 90 as I did when I wore the tag.

Sister Monica Painter

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